1. Your Book Crosses Genres
Score!! An agent has expressed an interest in your book! But oh dear. She says they can’t take it, because they haven’t a clue how or where to pitch it. They just don’t know whether to shelve it in the Science Fiction section, or in Gardening.
Look. A lot of people working in publishing are jaded, working under pressure and only one dole cheque away from making a costly bad bet. The whole point of your book is that it’s supposed to be non-derivative. In fact, you’re absolutely certain it’s the first ever book about a celebrity gardener, fond of talking about engine repair, who discovers a portal to a plantless dystopian gas-cloud in a clump of azaleas. Take the burden off them. Publish your goddamn self.
2. You Already Sent It Out – Waaaaay Too Early
You wrote your book. You thought it was brilliant! You then got rejected by every agent in the stratosphere, and sank into a depression for 5 months before joining a writing group and finding out that some parts of your book were actually nonsensical and at times, pretty damn awful. Now you’ve rewritten the whole damn thing and forty people have told you it’s much better, but you can’t send it out to the same agents again cos that’s against the law. Self-publishing is your saviour.
3. You Know You Have The Hit Of The Century And You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage
There are 2 scenarios here. One: you’ve just finished a 5-book deal to write thrillers for a publisher who, if you were to follow your heart, you would sue for fiscal rape, defamation AND pain and suffering. You wouldn’t touch them again with a barge pole. But you have a lovely fan-bank built up now, and they are panting for your next offering. What are you waiting for? Go it alone.
For the as yet Great Unpublished, however – what if your book is so stupifyingly brilliant (or just populist… it doesn’t need to be well written to sell millions. Yes I’m talking about you, E.L. James) it’s likely to make a publisher so much money it would make you cross-eyed? Traditional publishing gives you a cut. Self-publishing can make you rich. And most of us like money, let’s be honest about it.
4. You’ve Changed Genres
You have a 2-book deal to write crime thrillers. Yay! Except you’ve just written a 300-page steamer of erotica set in the torrid world of waste collection that you think might actually make you some serious dosh. Your crime thriller publisher would be horrified. Presuming your current contract won’t kill you for it, self-publish.
5. Rejection Sucks
Look. We’ve all thought it. If everyone’s rejected your script, it might be time to give up, right? John Banville said as much during the 2013 Dublin Writer’s Festival, but enough about him. Life’s too short, and so is he.
There are simply hundreds of stories about writers who were rejected 40 times before going on to be credited with the bestseller of the year. Sometimes you just have to have confidence in yourself. Sometimes you have to trust in your own work, and self-publish. (But for God’s sake, get it edited first or I’ll be sending the boys round.)
- Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know (reviews.cnet.com)